Are we becoming whoppers or are they telling us whoppers?

I ask because the cream puffs of the health industry are on the march (yet again) ready to sternly upbraid, castigate and tax us for our ‘increasing obesity’ as measured by BMI in the latest NZ Health Survey. They are warning that “if present trends continue” we’ll all end up like unfortunate Humpty-Dumpty’s.

Thing is: if you wanted to design a survey, a ‘national health’ survey that fairly and squarely displayed the nations health divisions, especially by such important and sensitive factors as weight and body size, you would take a lot of care (wouldn’t you?) to calibrate the survey correctly. You would ensure that the participation rate is an accurate reflection of the population to ensure that the results are reliable.

If you already knew our Polynesian brothers and sisters are typically not a good fit for standard BMI measurement regimes you would be careful to ensure they are accurately and fairly scaled in the survey, wouldn’t you? These are people working hard, and manually, erecting our scaffolds, digging our ditches, working in our forests, playing our footy and possessing a higher muscle-fat ratio which provides for misleading assumptions.

If your previous results told you the ‘Asian’ demographic (whatever that is, presumably any ethnicity originating east of Istanbul and west of Perth) was typically lower than average BMI you would want that fact represented to smooth the mean results too; wouldn’t you?

But what if you deliberately and hugely over-represented the biggies and hugely under-represented the littlies in the survey, skewing the result somewhat? Would that show that you, I’m talking to you; naughty New Zealand, have put on a couple of collective pounds?

I only ask because the latest survey, and the one before it, over-sampled Polynesians massively. Maori, who represent 11.9% of our adult population constitute 18.2% of the adult survey sample*, while Asians representing 11.7% of our population constitute only 8.7% of survey participants. Similar population ratios, but massively different sampling ratios. Amazing, eh? Maori over-sampled more than 50%, Asians under-sampled close-to 30%.

It’s almost as if (just a crazy crackpot conspiracy, really) the statistics were…uhm…’arranged’ to produce a pre-determined outcome. Surely that wouldn’t be possible; would it? But; hey! in the meantime you’ve been told, you’ve put on weight, pay up, pay up, and pay up. You need taxing, you fat bastards. Do as we say: and give us money!